Partial checkouts are an important SVN advantage, indeed. Especially in a commercial environment, one wants e.g. documenation department access only the /docs/ directory. Easy done with SVN, no way with git, AFAIK.
Or one want only the top-level directory of a project and selected sub-dirs. Again, no problem with SVN (--depth, --set-depth etc.), but impossible with git, to my (limited) knowledge.